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The Kuba kingdom in the south-east of the modern-day Democratic Republic of the Congo had in the 19th century one of the most...read more

The Kuba kingdom in the south-east of the modern-day Democratic Republic of the Congo had in the 19th century one of the most remarkable political system, close to a modern nation-state. A constitution, a complex legal system, a tax system, public services, a professional bureaucracy, etc. Kuba men and women were extremely skilled textile workers, woven clothes, houses and currencies were decorated with rich and complex designs. Most textiles are a variation on rectangular or square pieces of woven palm leaf fibre enhanced by geometric designs executed in linear embroidery and other stitches, which are cut to form pile surfaces resembling velvet. In Kuba culture, men are responsible for raffia palm cultivation and the weaving of raffia cloth on an inclined, single-heddle loom.  The cloth is coarse when it is first cut from the loom, so it is then pounded in a mortar, which softens it and renders it ready for the application of surface decoration, for which women are responsible. one of the first uses of raphia cloth was a light portable readily acceptable currency.

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